The Lakers wrapped up their 7 game “Grammy” trip with a loss Sunday night against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. For fans who have decided to take some time away from the plummeting Lakers, don’t worry you haven’t missed much. The Lakers began the road trip with drama in the locker room, when Nick Young took a hard foul to the head against the Phoenix Suns and received no back up from his teammates. Then there was the overtime thriller against the Chicago Bulls that ended with an anti-climactic open layup with .9 seconds left due to the Lakers horrible defense. The Lakers dropped five out of seven games, but managed to pull off wins against the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors.
In case you missed it, here are five takeaways from the Lakers’ latest road trip.
Pau Gasol is returning to All-Star level form
On Friday, the usually soft-spoken Spaniard chewed out his teammates in the locker room after another disappointing loss against the struggling Orlando Magic. This type of aggressive attitude may be exactly what Pau Gasol needs to spark some life back into his play. In the last five games Gasol has been averaging 21 points while shooting 50% from the field. He has also stepped up on the defensive end averaging 12.6 rebounds and two blocks per game. Even with Gasol’s improved play, the Lakers are still dropping games, but it will increase his stock value if the Lakers decided to trade him before the February deadline.
Lakers defense is still non-existent
The Lakers offense is not that bad. For example, against the Knicks, the Lakers shot 52% from the field and 47.8% behind the arc with just 11 turnovers but still ended up losing.
The reason is that their defense is a complete mess. For 12 straight games, including the entire “grammy” trip, the Lakers allowed their opponents to score over 100 points. In addition, the Lakers are having a hard time defending the 3-pointer and constantly missing rotations. In the last three outings, the opponents shot 44.8 percent in three point attempts.
Sure, the numbers are inflated by the increased minutes and the lack of healthy bodies on the Lakers roster. But nevertheless, Kendall Marshall, fresh out of the D-league, has stepped up as the starting point guard for the Lakers. While the sample size is indeed small, Marshall has played in just 17 games this season, he averages the second highest assists in the league with 9.4 assists per game. Only Chris Paul is ahead of him with 11.2.
While his loyalty to his teammates may be questionable (just ask Nick Young), in his 12 starts for the Lakers, Marshall is averaging an impressive 11.9 assists per game. Once Steve Blake, Steve Nash and Xavier Henry return to the lineup, Marshall’s minutes will certainly be cut, but it will be interesting to see if Marshall can maintain this type of production.
Keep Manny Harris?
On Sunday, the Lakers signed Manny Harris on another 10 day contract after calling him up from the NBA Development League. In his current stint with the Lakers, Harris averaged 6.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 20.9 minutes. Most recently against the New York Knicks, Harris caught fire and scored 18 points in just 19 minutes shooting 6-9 from the field.
The Lakers will need another guard on the roster, with Kendall Marshall being the only healthy point guard available. However, with Nash set to return soon, the Lakers have an important decision to make once Harris’ second 10-day contract is up. They have the option to let him go as a free agent or to sign him to deal. For now they have nothing to lose with 10-day contract, and if Harris keep playing at a high level, he will be hard to pass up.
A picture is worth a thousand words, but a gif is worth more. This .gif of Kobe explains everything you need to know about the Lakers right now.